Man vs. JIRA: The 3,000+ Issue Tracker Fight
Jan 9 2014

What do you get from a 10+ year old open source framework, thousands and thousands of users within a wide range of roles, and tremendous complexity? A JIRA project with over 3,000 unresolved tickets, ranging from the brand-new to a stale 8+ years. Welcome to Hibernate ORM.

Is the large number indicative of low software quality? Definitely not. And therein lies the problem. A vast majority of the tickets are no longer issues, no longer relevant, or duplicates. But due to the sheer quantity, it became nearly impossible to weed through them.

I became the self-appointed "JIRA czar", in an attempt to clean it up. The following details the steps I've taken, so far, in case they're useful to other teams in similar situations. Unfortunately, while some steps are automatable, the majority require a lot of tedious, manual work. But in the end, it's worth it.

* denotes the addition of common query parameters: unresolved, unassigned, and reported by someone outside of the core team.

Through the above steps, I've been able to close out nearly 1,000 tickets. And that does not mean I've become trigger happy and closed issues that really are still problems. But frankly, I'd rather be overly aggressive and rely on the community to push back if something is erroneously closed. Being too conservative will not help.

To help prevent this situation from happening again, I've implemented some regular steps and rules:

  1. Check new tickets each morning.
  2. If the ticket is a question, say so, politely request use of the forums, and close.
  3. If no test case is provided, set to Awaiting Test Case and request one.
  4. Continue to automatically reject tickets sitting in Awaiting Test Case for more than 2-3 months with no response.
  5. Above all, do a better job of educating users, rather than scolding them

If anyone has other tips, please post them!